Caught up in an expensive divorce battle with your ex-wife? Apply Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev’s strategy: use black magic!

What would you do if you were facing a huge divorce (the biggest divorce ever, to be precise)? Well if you were Russian oligarch and billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, you’d go full-on with shamanic magic. Not everyone would spontaneously think about hiring Russian mediums, but when you’re a billionaire and can afford their fees, then go for it.

Because yes, that’s the thing: hiring the two ‘specialists’ he hired wasn’t cheap. According to the Russian press, he paid more than half a million US dollars for their services. He was probably thinking it was a minute investment compared to a multibillion-dollar settlement deal with his ex-wife. Dmitry Rybolovlev is indeed one of the world’s richest men – close to 8 billion dollars in various assets, according to Forbes latest assessments. He made his fortune as the owner of a potassium-mining company in the 90s and 2000s, becoming a de facto king of fertilizers and making a huge fortune in the process.

Hearing about Russian oligarchs behaving weirdly won’t surprise that many people. For those familiar with the the layers of nuttiness the internet has to offer, it might even remind them of the extraordinary video filmed in 2013 by a Vice.com crew who spent a day with another Russian oligarch, Sergey Veremeenko. The video is currently sitting and 6,5 million hits on Youtube, and if you want a display of Russian weirdness, you’ll understand why. It includes, among other strange things, a hunting session conducted from the inside of a heated hut, and a few punchlines on what it’s like to be rich and married to a sexy wife.

Yet whilst most Russian oligarchs and/or billionaires seem to have a thing for the bizarre, using shamanism is something different. Some Russian businessmen do it, but it’s not the practice itself. It’s the people who do it. We’re talking ‘Misha the Magnet’ and ‘Nikolay the Handbell Man’. Yup, the magnet and the handbell man. And no, they aren’t the X-Men’s arch-enemies from outer space. One is from Moscow (that’s Mr Magnet) and the other is a more country-type ‘Bear Shaman’ (that’s Mr Handbell). They’re the two geniuses Dmitry Rybolovlev used for his divorce-related problems.

So… did it work? Well yes, it looks like it did. Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ex-wife dropped some of her demands and… fell ill whilst he was getting better in the meantime. It’s a bit difficult to say what part psychology played in all this, but in the eye of the believer, that’ll be the result everyone would’ve expected. Skeptics might say Mr Rybolovlev’s more mundane tactics may have been as efficient in obtaining this result: he was cautious enough to back up his shaman-friends’ black magic with a good dose of legal work and financial precautionary measures. Maybe it’s a combination of all that. Anyhow, it’s certainly an unusual divorce strategy.

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